There wasn’t much the Union boys soccer team could nitpick about Wednesday’s opening-round Class 4A state playoff game, except for the final result.
The Titans, seeded No. 2 in the state’s final 16, created plenty of scoring chances against No. 15 Kamiak, seven of them inside 10 yards. They held up on defense and had a clear leg up in possession.
All of those things were a moot point in the end, though, when the final whistle blew and the Knights of Mukilteo celebrated a 1-0 win on the McKenzie Stadium turf, ending the Titans’ season at 16-3-1.
“The game happens like that sometimes,” Union head coach Jason Moore said, “and you have to accept it for what it is.”
Wyatt Stevens scored the lone goal in the 48th minute on a close-range touch that Union got a hand on, before the ball snuck behind into the net.
In a suddenly more dire situation, the Titans put together numerous attacks inside the final 30 minutes.
Off a free kick in the 52nd minute, Union lobbed in a long ball that Kamiak inadvertently headed to a Union player inside the box, but the shot went high of the goal.
In the 70th minute, Sam Wilson pushed up the right wing and crossed to an open Isaiah Bunda, who fired a high-velocity shot that Kamiak goalkeeper Weston Joyner dove to save.
Two minutes later, Union found an opening and had a one-on-one shot at goal, denied by a sliding Joyner save.
The 77th minute was Union’s final threatening chance from close range, and the shot was once again stopped by Joyner.
“Union is a great team,” Kamiak head coach Kosta Pitharoulis said. “To come down to their field and be able to do that, I think, is just a testament to what state soccer is all about. It’s any given day, any given game. That was just exciting for the guys, but Union played fantastic.”
Those were just a few examples that illustrated the Titans’ plight throughout the game, their only time being shut out this season.
They did see the ball go through the net once, in the first 10 minutes of the game, but the goal was waived off for an offside call.
“For me, it’s a game of missed opportunities, and that’s kind of ironic because all this group wanted to do was create opportunities,” Moore said.
That description of the Titans can be applied to their on-the-field persona, though Moore was also speaking to the work that began back in September for offseason training.
The schedule was typical for the team, but though coaches also noticed a greater commitment, starting with the large class of seniors.
The Titans also set the goal of winning the 4A Greater St. Helens League title, which they ultimately did, and qualified for their first state tournament appearance since 2016.
“This one’s going to hurt for a little while, but I also think that’s indicative of all the work that went into it,” Moore said.